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Antisocial Personality Disorder and Medical
Kevin Connolly
CONNOLLY K. Antisocial personality disorder and medical certi-
cation. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:1456.
This case of Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) highlights typical
historical, physical, and test ndings. For certication consideration,
APD cases must be deferred to FAAs Aerospace Medical Certication
Division. APD is a chronic disease without effective treatments, likely to
result in medical certicate denial.
NTISOCIAL Personality Disorder (APD) is a
chronic disease without effective treatments, likely
to result in medical certicate denial. In this case of a
36-yr-old white male applying for a third-class medical
certicate, the medical history revealed no signicant
medical problems. The psychiatric history showed no
record of formal psychiatric diagnosis/treatment. How-
ever, when he was a teenager, the Youth Authority had
required that he receive counseling, and he had at-
tended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings while there.
Social History
A 36-yr-old white male presented to the aviation
medical examiner (AME) for a third-class medical cer-
ticate. Due to the applicants history of multiple con-
victions, his case was deferred to the Aerospace Medi-
cal Certication Division for evaluation. This included a
psychiatric and psychological examination and a state-
ment regarding convictions.
From age 13 to 17, he was arrested and sent to Juve-
nile Detention eight times for car theft. At age 17, he
held up a store clerk with a knife, resulting in his arrest
and conviction for armed robbery. He was sentenced to
5 yr in a youth authority. While there, he felt socially
alienated and did not get along with others, result-
ing in an extended sentence. At age 21, he was released.
A year later, he was convicted of indecent exposure and
spent 3 wk in jail. Shortly thereafter, he was convicted
of disturbing the peace. At age 27, while driving after
drinking, the applicant was pulled over. The charge
was reduced from DUI to reckless driving, for which he
was convicted. His license was suspended for 3 mo, and
he completed community service. At age 28, he was
convicted of false impersonation for using another
persons name to obtain a home telephone.
At age 34, he was cited for making annoying tele-
phone calls. After being unjustly red from an in-
surance agency, he fax bombed his ex-employer.
Over a 2-d period, he continually faxed thousands of
black pages to his prior boss until told by police to
desist. However, for the lack of sufcient evidence, he
was not detained. Despite his past, the applicant says he
learned from his mistakes and is no longer in-
volved in deviant activities. Reportedly, he has been a
licensed insurance agent for the past 10 yr and has run
his own agency for the last 2.
Family History
The applicants mother was a working single parent,
and he rarely saw his father. He denies any history of
physical or sexual abuse. He said that while attending
school, he was beat up all the time because he was not
liked. He earned Ds and Fs in school and was expelled
for truancy in the 10
grade. He has never been mar-
ried, but has fathered a 5-yr-old daughter who lives
with her mother. For the past year, he has had a steady
girlfriend, whom he reportedly loves, but is not in love
with. He denies tobacco or illicit drug use and con-
sumes two alcoholic drinks per week. He denies current
legal problems.
The applicants sister has been incarcerated for drug
abuse; his aunt and uncle are recovering drug addicts.
He denies other psychiatric diagnoses in family mem-
Physical Exam
The applicant was a well-dressed, overweight, and
cooperative white male. He was alert and oriented to
person, place, and situation. He demonstrated fair eye
contact, normal speech, and goal-directed thought pro-
Cases from CAMI are papers written by physicians at the FAA
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, Oklahoma City, OK, peer-re-
viewed at that institution, and published in Federal Air Surgeons
Medical Bulletin. With the assistance of Mike Wayda, Writer/Editor,
CAMI Publications, and Al Parmet, M.D., Associate Editor for Avia-
tion, Space, and Environmental Medicine, we are pleased to reprint them
here. This and additional articles are available online at: http://
Kevin Connolly, M.D., M.P.H., was a resident in aerospace medi-
cine at the USAF School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks City Base, TX.
He wrote this case report while on rotation at the Civil Aerospace
Medical Institute.
Reprint & Copyright by Aerospace Medical Association, Alexan-
dria, VA.
145 Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine Vol. 78, No. 2 February 2007
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Copyright: Aerospace Medical Association
cesses. His affective range was broad, his mood euthy-
mic, and he denied depression and mood swings. He
also denied a history of delusions, hallucinations, and
suicidal or homicidal ideation. His immediate, recent,
and remote memories were intact. Based on verbal abil-
ity, he appeared to be of average intelligence. He dis-
played poor insight and judgment. His physical exam
was otherwise normal.
Diagnostic Testing
The WAIS-III test revealed average intelligence (50%)
with high average working memory and below-average
information processing speed. His auditory attention
and nonverbal abstract reasoning were relative
strengths, while factual knowledge was a relative weak-
ness. He did well on the Trailmaking Test, indicating
above-average speed for attention, sequencing, mental
exibility, and psychomotor speed.
The MMPI-2 test results indicated that he is imma-
ture, impulsive, and engages in risk-taking activities for
his enjoyment, even when others disapprove. These
results signify a rebellious nature and tendency toward
poor judgment, but do not indicate anxiety, neurosis, or
psychosis. They also suggest that his tendencies toward
taking personal risks and acting out will make close
relationships difcult to maintain.
As indicated in the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical
Examiners, a diagnosis of a personality disorder that is
severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by
overt acts (including APD) is specically disqualifying
under the Federal regulations (14 CFR 67.107, 67.207,
and 67.307). It further states that the AME can deny
certication if the standards are clearly not met but
must defer equivocal cases to the FAA for action. For an
applicant to be considered, the Aerospace Medical Cer-
tication Division (AMCD) will need AME input (re:
behavior, mood, cognition, memory, and communica-
tion), a psychiatric and psychological evaluation (in-
cluding diagnostic testing), and an applicant statement
regarding past criminal activity. If the ndings are fa-
vorable, the AMCD will grant a Special Issuance Med-
ical Certicate (waiver) (3).
According to 14 CFR 67-307.3 (b), a patient with such
a personality disorder is prone to poor judgment, im-
pulsivity, and antagonism toward authority. There is
often a long-standing history of minor (truancy, not
adhering to ight regulations, etc.) or major (criminal)
behavioral problems (3). Clearly, applicants with such a
history pose a risk to ight safety, making certication
Case Outcome
The reviewing AMCD Medical Ofcer presented this
case to the Divisions internal medical panel. Because
this applicant has such a recent and extensive anti-
social history, his request for medical certication was
1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical man-
ual of mental disorders, 4
ed. Washington, DC: American
Psychiatric Association; 2000.
2. Costa PT, Widiger TA, eds. Personality disorders. Washington,
DC: American Psychiatric Association; 1994.
3. Federal Aviation Administration. Guide for aviation medical ex-
aminers. Washington, DC: FAA; Sept. 2003.
4. Goodwin RD, Hamilton SP. Lifetime comorbidity of antisocial
personality disorder and anxiety disorders among adults in the
community. Psychiatr Res 2003; 117:159-66.
5. Hill J. Early identication of individuals at risk for antisocial
personality disorder. Br J Psychiatry 2003; 182:11-4.
6. Moeller AA, Hell D. Affective disorder and psychopathy in a
sample of younger male delinquents. Acta Psychiat Scand
2003; 107:203-7.
7. Sue D, Sue D, Sue S. Understanding abnormal behavior, 5th ed.
Boston: Houghton Mifin; 1997.
Diagnosis: The Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental
Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text
Revision (DSM-IV-TR) states,
The essential feature of
antisocial personality disorder is
a pervasive pattern of disregard
for, and violation of, the rights
of others that begins in
childhood or early adolescence
and continues into adulthood.
Thus, both the psychologist and
psychiatrist diagnosed the
applicant with Antisocial
Personality Disorder.
Treatment: Since APD patients
do not view their behaviors as
bad, they are not motivated to
change. For this reason,
traditional treatment approaches
requiring patient cooperation
have not been effective. In some,
tranquilizing medications have
reduced antisocial behavior for a
short time. Intense group therapy
in settings where behavior can be
controlled (prison, hospital, etc.)
may work but only while in that
setting. Behavior modication,
cognitive approaches, and
intervention programs have been
advocated without long-term
success (7).
Prognosis: Although APD has a
chronic course, it may remit or
become less pronounced with
age, particularly by the fourth
decade. Remission leads mainly
to reduced criminal behavior, but
a decrease in antisocial behavior
and substance abuse may also
occur (1).
146 Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine Vol. 78, No. 2 February 2007